(FRESNO, Calif.) – Fresno State head football coach Jeff Tedford, defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and offensive coordinator Pat McCann met with the media Monday at the program’s weekly press conference, two days after the Bulldogs lost at Wyoming 24-19, a loss that snapped Fresno State’s 14-game winning streak dating back to last season.
This week, the Bulldogs (5-1, 1-1 MW) travel to Logan, Utah for a Friday night battle with Utah State (3-3, 1-1 MW).
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT.
The Aggies were picked to finish eighth (out of 12 teams) in the preseason Mountain West media poll, and have lost at Iowa (24-14), at Air Force (39-21), and at home to James Madison (45-38). They have won at home against Idaho State (78-28), at UCONN (34-33) and at home versus Colorado State (44-24). The win over the Rams came last week.
Here are some of the topics the Fresno State coaches talked about at Monday’s presser.
Mikey Keene injury update
Fresno State starting quarterback Mikey Keene was forced out of the Wyoming game early in the fourth quarter, after having his ankle twisted awkwardly while being sacked by DeVonne Harris of the Cowboys.
Tedford jokingly said his team is keeping the “MRI company busy” and offered this health update with regards to Keene.
Tedford also mentioned that Keene wanted to go back in the game at Wyoming after the injury, but the coaching staff decided against that.
Fife ready if needed
From the sound of things at Monday’s press conference, there appears to be a better than average chance Logan Fife will make the start for the Bulldogs at quarterback against the Aggies Friday.
Fife started four, and appeared in ten total games last season, starting those four games after Jake Haener went down with an injury in the second half of the USC game.
Fife went 2-2 in those four starts, and for the year, completed exactly 70 percent of his passes, with two touchdown passes and six interceptions.
He is a little more mobile than both Haener and Keene, and also added three rushing touchdowns last season.
After replacing Keene at Wyoming with the Bulldogs trailing 24-13 midway through the fourth quarter, Fife engineered a nice touchdown drive, which culminated with a terrific touchdown pass on the run to Mac Dalena that made it 24-19.
Fife had a chance to lead the Bulldogs on a game-winning drive at the end of the game as well, but that drive ended with a tipped interception at the line of scrimmage by a Cowboy defensive lineman.
For the game, Fife finished 7-of-11 with the touchdown and that interception.
Fife battled Keene hard during the quarterback competition in the spring and fall, and Tedford thinks if needed, Fife will be much more prepared and ready to go this time around, as compared to last season.
If Fife gets the start, we asked McCann what his message would be for the fourth-year junior from Tracy, Calif.
McCann also shared what his favorite thing is about Fife…
And whether the game plan changes at all with Logan in there as opposed to Mikey (he also shared an interesting nugget about the input the quarterbacks have in the game plan each week).
What went wrong at Wyoming?
Fresno State really dug itself a hole in Laramie on Saturday, falling behind 24-7 at halftime. They were only able to put together one drive of note in the first half, and allowed the Cowboys to score on all four of their first-half offensive possessions, as the Cowboys put together touchdown drives of 78, 75, and 88 yards.
According to Tedford, there were a few things that were out of character for his team that were really frustrating.
Those long Wyoming drives, and the Bulldogs going three-and-out on their first two series, led to a first quarter where the Bulldogs only had six offensive plays in total.
The Fresno State defense, which came into the game only allowing 188.8 passing yards per game, gave up 160 yards in the first half to the Cowboys, a team that came in averaging only 142.2 passing yards per contest.
Coyle put some of the blame on himself, and offered an explanation for some of the first half defensive problems.
The Bulldog defense was able to shut out the Cowboys in the second half, which is something Coach Coyle was proud of.
Unfortunately, we found out the reason why Fresno State senior cornerback Cameron Lockridge, who led the Bulldogs with five interceptions a year ago, has missed the last couple games and did not make the trip to Laramie.
Lockridge will need surgery and is out for the season.
Saturday night, like usual, didn’t offer a chance for much sleep for Tedford.
And McCann, like usual, wishes he had a couple play calls back from Saturday.
Coyle also shared why he would want one specific defensive call back from Saturday.
The Bulldogs won’t have much time to dwell on the loss to Wyoming, as they have a short week this week, as they prepare for a Friday night game at Utah State.
It means some small changes to the practice routine this week.
This week’s opponent, Utah State, will offer a much different challenge for Coyle and his defense. The Aggies are coming off a win over Colorado State, in which they gained 639 total yards (387 pass, 252 rush).
Coyle was asked about a bit of good news from the Wyoming game, as the fifth-year transfer from USC, linebacker Tuasivi Nomura, saw his first game action with the Bulldogs, after working his way back from an injury.
Another bright spot for the Bulldogs at Wyoming was senior receiver Mac Dalena, who finished with 8 receptions for 90 yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season, a terrific catch near the sideline in the end zone, that brought the Bulldogs back within 24-19 with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter.